Hoyer: GOP jobs bills are the "Forgettable 15"

Sounds like someone is a little bitter at the House GOP for brilliantly hijacking an Obama slogan to promote passage of their own proposals.

The president, if you’ll recall, wanted people to tweet their enthusiasm for his jobs bill using the hashtag #WeCantWait. People tweeted all right — but not what the president wanted them to tweet. RNC Chair Reince Priebus took the opportunity to express his eagerness to see Obama become a one-term president, for example. And House GOPers relentlessly vented their impatience to see the Senate take up the 15 jobs bills they proposed — and passed — long before the president introduced the American Jobs Act or embarked on his Traveling Pity Party (h/t Jim Treacher).

Their push to remind folks of the #Forgotten15 didn’t stop on Twitter, either. Earlier this week, House Republican leaders passed out copies of a handy pocket card to their ranks. The card lists the 15 bills and briefly explains what the legislative package, if passed by the Senate and signed by the president, would accomplish.

Now, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland thinks he’s equally clever — but “Forgettable 15” is just not nearly so fun as reminding the president why #WeCantWait for him to be gone:

“They are using a new pocket card to talk about their so-called ‘forgotten 15’ jobs bills,” Hoyer said. “Unfortunately, what Republicans’ bills really forgot is to create any jobs. Their ‘forgettable 15’ include bills to roll back critical consumer and environmental protections that won’t create jobs or boost our economy, according to economists.”

Hoyer said there is no evidence to support the Republican claim that environmental regulations are stifling job growth, and cited a number of economists who said the weak employment market was due to weak short-term demand, not government regulations.

“Many of the ‘forgettable 15’ bills are a complete waste of time and taxpayer money as the regulations they repeal aren’t even in effect yet — meaning they won’t have any effect on job creation,” Hoyer said. “Rather than wasting time rolling back critical consumer and environmental protections  — many of which don’t even exist yet — it’s time for Republicans to work with Democrats on bipartisan proposals to put more Americans back to work.”

Ah, but that’s just it, Mr. Hoyer. Regulations do deter hiring — even before they take effect. Whether we’re talking about Obamacare or EPA regulations, new requirements on businesses don’t exactly incentivize hiring — and often cost existing jobs. As one of The Hill commenters asked, does Hoyer think businesses don’t create five-or-10-year plans that take into account the costs of impending regulations?

Compliance takes time and, thus, money away from businesses — money that could be used to hire workers. It’s really not that complicated: Every hour a business’ employee spends deciphering regulations or filling out paperwork is an hour that employee doesn’t do something else — something more productive — for the business. This video from the GOP side of the House Financial Services Committee makes the point simply and beautifully. Hoyer will dismiss it because it comes from the Republican side — but can he rebut its simple common sense?

Beyond that, let’s talk for a minute about the politics of this. The House has already passed the 15 bills its leaders are begging the Senate to consider. So far, no piece of the president’s jobs proposal has passed the Democratically-controlled Senate. Sure, Republicans are opposed to it — but do Democrats know how to whip or don’t they? Do they know how to reach across the aisle or don’t they? The president says he’s touring the country to rally support. Presumably, he hopes the American people will alert their legislators about the importance of the AJA. His tour has maybe improved the image of the AJA in the abstract — but, so far, he hasn’t had nearly the success he had in the summer, when he begged voters to call Congress to clamor for a debt ceiling deal and the American people responded by clogging the phone lines. So maybe it’s time for him to come home and start talking directly to the Republicans and Democrats whose votes he needs to pass his bill. If he’s so convinced it will create jobs, why take the risk of it not passing? In the meantime, House Republicans are right to keep hammering the #Forgotten15. Again, they’ve already passed the House. Why won’t the Senate at least take a look at them?